February 28, 2011
It’s still dark outside. Today – Monday – is a session day for The Master’s Program in Santa Barbara. A good friend – TMP grad in SB – did a “reply” on my Point of View a week ago to snag a coffee time before today’s session; I was delighted to say, “yes.”
Backtime: arrive at the Canary Hotel for set-up by 7:00am. An hour with Drew? Meet at 6:00. Time to write the PoV? Before Drew; hit S’bucks on State Street in Santa Barbara by 5:00…
MapQuest says it’s 133 miles; not much traffic when you pull out of your driveway at 3:00am. Draw the MQ “straight line” from Shank’s to Starbucks SB: it goes straight through Hollywood…
The partiers were still venue-hopping – post-Oscars – as I cruised the 101 through Hollywood this morning. The all-news – “traffic and weather on the 5’s” – radio was repetitive. Once you heard that The King’s Speech received the honor it deserved, there wasn’t much left to say… except the gracious allowance of Melissa Leo’s expletive during her acceptance for best supporting actress. As one insider wrote this morning, “… Melissa Leo is, after all, an actress. Her speech was the most scripted non-scripted speech I have ever seen, and I sincerely believe the profanity was intended to look spontaneous.”
A bad morning for news, even if I could find it. I sure didn’t need an update on the “public servants’” camp-out in Madison, Wisconsin. The teachers entrusted with nurturing the intellectual development of that state’s children have been posing an ad hominem attack on Governor Scott Walker, calling him “Adolph Hitler” because of his efforts to rein-in the state’s financial crisis through setting some budget boundaries that the unions don’t appreciate.
World news offered no relief, either. One by one, countries with oil and mosques are erupting in political flames. “Stability” is the polar opposite of today’s status reports. No one – not on Main Street, not on Wall Street, not on Pennsylvania Avenue – can predict where those mob bombs will land. The only “smart money” says that oil will pass café lattes on a per-ounce value before it’s over.
The last hour of the drive was a scratchy national broadcast featuring Matthew Stein, author of the book, When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency. That conversation didn’t help to lift my spirits…
Stein won’t be the keynote presenter at the Optimists’ Convention. His comments were devoted to the “six trends that are converging on collapse.” That’ll put a smile on your face: the world’s oil gauge is at the ¼ tank point; climate change is 90% sure; the fisheries have water, but no fish; fresh water is all but dried up; I had to turn it off before he rounded out his half-dozen-reasons-we’re-toast.
Based on the trendline of culture (ala Oscar), the nuclear volatility of the fragile political mayhem, the irreconcilable conditions of our natural support systems… why set up my gear for Session #2 in Santa Barbara?
The groaning you hear today, as you get up-and-rolling, shouldn’t be a surprise. Listen to what God said – through Paul of Tarsus – nearly 2000 years ago: “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved…” (Romans 8:18-24)
Like a woman in the final moments of childbirth, the agony is transitional. We’re heading somewhere, fast. Whether you want to listen to Nostradamas, or the Mayans, or – radically – the Bible, things seem to be on the way to some cataclysmic culmination.
It’s all good news, even when it’s bad… if you know how the story ends up. The King’s Speech (the movie) was great; the King’s Speech (the last words of Jesus) was even better: “Behold, I come quickly!” (Revelation 22:7).